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Dive Review of Dive Friends Bonaire/Bellafonte Chateau de la Mer in
Bonaire

Dive Friends Bonaire/Bellafonte Chateau de la Mer, Apr, 2009,

by Kimberly Krebs, MD, USA (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 7 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 5036.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving St.Thomas, Key Largo, Belize, Turks & Caicos, Little Cayman
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, no currents
Water Temp 79 to 81 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 1
Water Visibility 60 to 130 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Depth limits of 100 feet on the first dive, 80 feet on the second dive. Time limit of one hour.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics N/A

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 3 stars
UW Photo Comments There were two rinse tanks on the boat for cameras. Dive masters did not particularly assist with cameras at all. Otherwise, there were no other accomodations for UWP.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food N/A
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving 5 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments We found Dive Friends to be adequate. We joined them for 3 two-tank morning dives to Klein Bonaire, as well as one night dive to Klein Bonaire. We considered them to be transportation to Klein and that was it. As experienced divers, we were allowed to make our own dive profile, and often did. Dive Masters moved quickly across the reef and gave little time for seeing small things. Few creatures were pointed out. The boat was small and crowded, and there were a lot of newer divers. Our biggest problem was that all divers had to remain on the surface until all divers were in the water and this sometimes took far too long (10-15 minutes).

For shore diving, we had a great time, but many of the tanks that were available were leaking or damaged. Check your tanks carefully and recheck the PSI before getting in the water. The dive shop offered free nitrox, but supposedly had a limit of 3 Nitrox tanks/day. One employee told us that this wasn't enforced, we often took more than 3 Nitrox tanks.

The night dive on Klein was wonderful and I recommend it, especially since Town Pier was not available for a night dive in the spring of 2009.

The Bellafonte was a terrific place to stay. We found it worth the price and the perfect mix between a hotel and a condo/timeshare. We had lots of space and a full kitchen, washer/dryer, living room, and still had daily maid service. We had breakfast on the balcony each morning, and saved money on food by staying there. Everyone was friendly and a dive locker was available for storing gear. The house reef was very nice. We were in a Senior Suite and it was worth the upgrade.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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